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Marc My Words

Marc My Words.

From Marc Alexander MP

United Future NZ-Christchurch Supplement

After chasing a particularly bad case of 'the tenants from hell' from one property to the next, one thing is abundantly clear. The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 is in dire need of review to protect landlords from being victimised by a small minority of irresponsible and unscrupulous tenants.

Why are there twelve obligations on the landlord (with fines of up to $3000); one applies to both landlords and tenants, yet only one solely to tenants?! It is ridiculous to inflict so many provisions on landlords who have, for the most part, scrimped and saved to have such an investment in the first place. Yet there are not an equivalent number imposed on the tenant in order to safeguard that investment.

How can it be right that the tenant's failure to pay rent does not negate the tenancy agreement? Where else would you be allowed to keep a 'product' without actually having to pay for it, and then demand the seller go to Court to recover it?

There are no fines for tenants if they desert or abandon a property or fail to attend a tribunal hearing. How therefore can redress be sought?

Why is a landlord liable for the property left by the tenant in an abandoned premises but there is no obligation on the tenant to be liable for damage to the landlord's property?

How come WINZ will not address the rent arrears of tenants who abscond, yet will pay an emergency accommodation grant so that these scoundrels can get their foot in the door to prey on yet another unsuspecting landlord?

Most importantly, why is it that IRD, the Courts and Winz will all share information on a tax matter but not when money is owed to individuals like landlords?

The bottom line is that we need a register to vet tenants, giving accurate and up to date information to prospective landlords, backed up by legislation with 'teeth'.

Landlords and tenants need to be treated equally and equitably, and after grilling the Minister, the Hon. Steve Maharey in Parliament this week, I'm heartened that he has promised to address the issues I have raised.

If he doesn't do as he says, I'll camp in his office and be his tenant from hell!

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